Soldiers from North and South Korea are beginning to actually demilitarize the safety zone, tearing down guard towers that symbolized the peninsula’s division.
Soldiers from both sides of the DMZ began to disassemble 20 front line guard posts along the highly fortified and historically tense border.
The de-escalation gesture of removing the guards, weaponry and now the structures themselves was jointly agreed upon by generals from the two Korean armies last month in an effort to meet goals set between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un.
South Korea’s side is said to have a total of 60 such guard posts, whereas North Korea has 160. The border between the two is one of the most heavily armed areas in the world.
Along with the removal of the posts, the generals also agreed to strive for joint use of the Han River estuary on the Western border of the peninsula, which would allow civilian ships to pass through the neutral waters for the first time since 1953.
The Korea’s have been hard at work making the most of the diplomatic thaw which followed Moon Jae-in’s election as president of South Korea in May of last year, hosting three inter-Korean summits where the countries’ leadership met.
In May, the two sides tore down loudspeakers which they had earlier used to broadcast propaganda across the border, and in October they began the arduous practice of removing the numerous land mines from the Joint Security Area in Panmunjom.
With Washington blocking every attempt to alleviate sanctions in early November, the North Koreans canceled a scheduled meeting with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Trump has been obstinate that Washington won’t budge on sanctions until North Korea achieves “complete denuclearization.”
RT.com / ABC Flash Point Military News 2018.